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Here is the deal: DH is considering getting a dog. Our 17 yr old stepson would love a dog. Our 2 little kids (8 yr old boy and 4 yr old girl) would LOVE a dog. I have been saying no way for a long time primarily because * I * would be the mommy and the burden would fall on me and frankly, I'm too busy. (When we were without children, DH had the greatest, sweetest, most affectionate cat on the planet. I was the one always changing the litter box and the one taking him to vet visits. He lost a leg to cancer from a vaccine shot. The vet visits didn't bother me as much as the litter box.)

DH says there are benefits for children to have a dog (teaching responsibility, etc...)

But now... my heart is softening because my daughter * really * loves all dogs. Now I'm more open to it.

My problem is... I have been a permissive parent with my kids (especially my son in his first 4 years). I didn't know any better. I'm still dealing with it and trying to fight against that tendency, but at least I'm aware and working towards being better. Still learnin'.

What I have noticed is that the best trained, well mannered dogs have owners who are very FIRM (I'll say Alpha, you know what I mean) and loving and kind, but it is clear the ADULT is in charge. (Me - I was asking my children what THEY wanted for a long time and I have to bite my tongue and stop myself.)

(I have my preschool teacher in mind. She trains guide dogs and I'm so impressed how she is with them, the Leader, and how they respond, they truly follow and are calm. She can take her dogs anywhere!)

My concern is... how can I be a good dog owner if this is my issue?

When my kids are in public with me, sometimes, they don't listen, and run crazy, trying to whack each other. It's embarrassing. The little one learned it from her brother and it's hard for me to make them stop. When they are apart (just me and one) they are great. But together, sometimes, it's a pain in the you know what. It's gotten a lot better though.

My worry is I CANNOT have a dog (on top of 2 children) who will act like this. I won't stand for it (i.e., I am very self-motivated to change myself, not lash out against my pet for goodness sakes.)

Any advice? Books to research? Resources?
Best classes? Class types to avoid?

We have a HUGE park across the street. We are almost ideally suited for this. (So Cal has coyotes at night. I would love cats, but if they get out, we may never see them again.)

In a way, I'm excited about the prospect of doing something (for me) completely different and the challenges (growth) it will bring us all.
 

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Ask the preschool teacher where she goes for training--I am guessing she's a puppy raiser? Or does she actually work for one of the guide dog agencies? If she's a puppy raiser, she's almost certainly taking her puppies to a trainer for puppy K and/or basic obedience, so find out who her trainer is.

You are absolutely right that you'll have a very difficult time if you have a wild and untrained dog if you're already feeling not-so-great about your control of your kids. I would recommend that you NOT get a puppy for that reason; a young adult (1-3 yrs) would be a better fit. I'd also look for an extremely calm and stable dog of a calm and stable breed. Then go right into a good training class. You have a wonderful attitude about this and I am sure you'll do very well if you are SLOW (don't get the first available dog, or even the tenth available dog; really get a feel for breeds and personalities and hold out for the perfect dog) and if you ask for help.

Are you thinking of adopting or purchasing the dog? (Either is a legitimate choice; just depends on what your priorities and needs are.) Do you have a list of breeds that you're considering?

The books I highly recommend are Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash, anything by Suzanne Clothier, the two books by Cesar Millan, and for the breed search process Michelle Welton's Your Purebred Puppy (PAY ATTENTION TO THE CONS OF EACH BREED! So many people just read the good stuff and end up with a dog who is very difficult to fit in their homes).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for responding.

I think (not sure) my preschool teacher works for the guide dog. I think she volunteers for it and trains the dog for a year.

Quote:

Originally Posted by thekimballs View Post
Are you thinking of adopting or purchasing the dog? (Either is a legitimate choice; just depends on what your priorities and needs are.) Do you have a list of breeds that you're considering?.
Not knowing a damn thing about this topic, I'm thinking of adopting. My first impression about buying a dog... well it just makes me ill for some reason. I think the whole thing is a little 'dirty' and I can't quite put my finger on it. It's not the money. (The idea of spending 100s of dollars on a dog.) It's just that I am not sure the person I am buying from has the dog's best interest.

DH also suggested not getting a puppy (cool with me) because like newborns, can be very difficult in the beginning.

Size/breed? No clue yet. He suggested not too big and not too small. Cool with me.

I have lots of neighbors with dogs. Most seem to be responsible. One (who moved away long ago, she had 3 kids and worked FT) buy the most beautiful one, don't bother to train it, dog runs wild (or worse bites someone at the park) then they get rid of the dog.
: And get a new one. That's not right.

I want to avoid that.
 

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If you have doubts about your ability to provide leadership to a dog, do consider one of the softer temperament dogs; generally dogs in the sporting group are classed this way. (Sporting dogs by and large are gun dogs--they were bred to retrieve or flush out game. This means big dog like Labs and Retrievers, but smaller dogs like Spaniels too.)

Another idea might be to adopt a retired racing Greyhound. Sighthounds like Greyhounds are usually non-dominant, relaxed in the house, and mellow. Retired racers are usually about 2-4 years old, and the breed is pretty healthy and long-lived for such tall dogs.
 

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Consider a whippet...they are generally VERY easy to live with when they are past the puppy stage, have few, if any health problems, are usually tolerant of children (mine are wonderful!), trainable (just don't let them off lead because they WILL chase things--that's what they were bred for). They do shed but not a ton like some other breeds. They can be sensitive and don't like cold and need a comfy place to lay down (a couch or nicely bedded down crate). They aren't a strong stubborn breed like say, a dalmatian (I just lost one at almost 13 years...great dog but NOT for everyone)...anyway gotta run....
 
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